5 Innovative Direct Mail Trends to Engage Audiences

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August 9, 2018

Direct mail trends

While digital marketing represents the new paradigm for doing promotional work, this doesn’t mean that traditional marketing methods have gone the way of the dinosaurs. In fact, a number of classical marketing tactics have been experiencing a renaissance of sorts, and direct mail is one of them.

A marketing staple if there ever was one, direct mail is being used in creative ways to convert audiences that are growing increasingly tired of email marketing. Even though direct mail has been around for a while as a marketing strategy, this doesn’t mean that marketing experts haven’t been busy coming up with new tactics over time. Some of these developments have given rise to whole new direct mail trends.

To help you get a sense of what’s going on in the world of direct mail in 2018, we decided to consolidate these trends into a handy list which you can reference when designing your own direct mail marketing campaign.

Variable Data

One of the major complaints that consumers had with direct mail marketing was the fact that they kept receiving promotional material that was not at all relevant to their interests. This kind of approach to direct mail was the result of technical limitations on the part of the companies that employed this method of marketing.

Simply put, companies didn’t have enough information their target audience to create adequate promotional material. With the advent of modern data science, the situation has drastically changed. Creative digital agencies now have variable data at their disposal to produce content that is guaranteed to resonate with each individual they end up targeting. And if you send out mail relevant to your audience’s interests, you stand a much better chance at converting them into leads, and later customers.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Another reason why direct mail grew in popularity in recent years is the fact that it can easily be combined with other forms of marketing. The costs of running a direct mail campaign are at a historical low-point, so it’s easy to create one to work in conjunction with other marketing strategies that you are employing.

A common practice is to enhance your direct mail with digital marketing elements like IP Targeting to utilize the advantages of both. For example, your letters can now contain elements such as QR codes, which can be set up to bring the consumer to a personalized landing page upon scanning. If your different marketing campaigns work in tandem, their odds of bringing consumers to your side will increase significantly.

Focus on Tactile Experience

The renewed focus on user experience in the world of digital marketing has rubbed off on traditional marketing approaches as well. Case in point, marketing experts are now trying to figure out how to make the experience of reading mail more engaging. A tried and true approach to do this has always been to try and include multiple human senses into the equation.

A piece of mail lends itself to be used as a tactile object, so marketing experts are now experimenting with different materials to create a more palpable reading experience. Some of the things you can try to include adding textured details such as using Shape-Cut envelopes, embossing, debossing or raised ink, as well as adding different finishes such as foiling to create a metallic or holographic effect.


Video games are currently the most popular entertainment product on the global market. Their unique advantage over other forms of entertainment is the fact that they induce direct consumer participation in order to produce an engaging experience. Customer-focused industries have started paying close attention to games for this reason, and they are even attempting to incorporate some elements of game design in their products and services.

This trend towards gamification is now becoming more prominent in direct mail as well. Products such as Nintendo Labo are proof that you can create an engaging experience with only a few pieces of cardboard, and such pieces are an easy fit for an envelope. Turning your promotional material into a puzzle that the consumer has to solve is a great way to keep them engaged, as well as to admire your creativity.


The upsurge in popularity of serialized works of fiction such as Game of Thrones has made consumers more keen on content with a strong narrative element. Or to put it simply, people enjoy content that flows like a story. Creating such content goes against what was previously conventional wisdom in direct mail marketing, i.e. that promotional material should be serious-minded, as well as presented in a standardized, corporate format.

Using storytelling as a model when creating promotional content is especially conducive for the process lead nurturing. If every piece of mail you send represents one part of a story, the prospective consumer will be inclined to stick around for your correspondences in order to hear the whole tale.


The novelty of using digital means of communication has all but disappeared, which means consumers are now more willing to explore other options for exchanging information with businesses. Regular mail is one such means of communication, and companies with a penchant for creative marketing have a lot to gain by incorporating direct mail into their broader marketing strategy.


Guest Blogger- Angelina Harper

Angelina Harper is a content writer who enjoys following trends in web development and web design. She can be also tagged as a surfer, photography enthusiast, and traveler. 

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